Review: Case-Mate Signature Series Leather Case-Holster Combo for BlackBerry Curve

By Ryan Blundell on 26 Sep 2007 12:04 pm EDT
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Case-Mate Signature Series Case and Holster for BlackBerry Curve

Protection & Pizzazz in One
Needing to find a way to protect your investment without losing your BlackBerry cool? The 8300/8310/8320 (it fits all Curves!) Leather case from Case-Mate’s Signature series may be what you are looking for! The form fitting case and accompanying swivel holster are made from genuine Napa leather and molded plastic. Boasting durability and high impact resistance, this entry from Case-Mate seems ready for any challenge. The case itself rings in at $34.95, while the case-holster combo comes in at only $49.95. Being one to treat my BlackBerrys almost as carefully as my baby boy, I was hesitant yet somewhat enticed to let loose and see what this case could do...

At First Glance
Okay, now I’m not one to read the box for contents or anything so at first sight I see the case and holster, simple enough. After I open it however, I am also greeted with two additional items; a clear plastic film screen protector and a grey cleaning cloth. I was quite impressed with the cloth itself; I’ve never seen one included with a case before. My cloth for my glasses won’t have to pull double duty with my BlackBerry anymore!

Case-Mate 8300 Signature Series Holster and Case for the BlackBerry 8300, 8310, 8320
Case-Mate Signature Series Leather Case and Holster
Combo for the BlackBerry Curve (8300, 8310, 8320)

Case-Mate 8300 Signature Series Holster and Case for the BlackBerry 8300, 8310, 8320
More Bang for Your Buck - the cleaning cloth is a Nice Touch!

Testing, Testing...

The Curve slid in rather nicely into the case (very much a leather Skin), as if to snuggle in for a good night’s sleep. The case accommodated for every port and button on the Curve leaving an opening, even for the LED!

The case can be used alone or with the holster, allowing the phone to sit facing out or in. The holster also has a clip that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing for a comfortable carrying solution. One should note that the case/holster combo does not provide sleep mode.

Case-Mate 8300 Signature Series Holster and Case for the BlackBerry 8300, 8310, 8320
Facing In
 
Case-Mate 8300 Signature Series Holster and Case for the BlackBerry 8300, 8310, 8320
Facing Out

Assuming the typical quick draw position you would find in most Western movies, I wanted to see how easily I could remove the phone and case from the holster. With a finger on the bottom of the case and a thumb on the holster clip I could easily respond to a pin or answer a call with impressive speed.

The film is square where as the Curve’s screen is rectangular. I tried to apply the protective film to the screen I found that it wasn’t large enough, it left about a ½ cm space unprotected. This was disappointing as I felt it would better fit a Pearl’s screen.  Both the case and holster’s interiors are cloth lined which is adorned with Case-Mates logo. The cloth lining is to allow for easy removal and appears to be glued, which may come loose over time on the holster, though it’s held up fine for me so far. The holster’s clip feels more durable than on BlackBerry’s lambskin leather holster. With respect to the case itself I found the Curve somewhat difficult to remove, having to pry the case slightly open and drag the device out. As I pulled the Curve out I noticed that, due to its form fitting nature, the case would rub slightly against the Curve’s shell, keypad and screen before letting go. Over time I am worried that it could cause some cosmetic damage on the Curve. If you pull the battery cover off your Curve on a regular basis, this is something you will want to pay attention to. On the other hand, if you have rarely seen under the hood of your BlackBerry you’ll appreciate the snug fit.

Case-Mate 8300 Signature Series Holster and Case for the BlackBerry 8300, 8310, 8320
The Curve Coming out of its Shell - Snug Fit!

Navigating was easy enough with the case on, though it did feel bulkier, as though I was using an older model of BlackBerry. The bottom lip of the case comes up a bit too high and too close to the buttons for my taste, which causes the bottom row of buttons to be difficult to use. The bottom row buttons are accessible, but require more of a 'vertical' stroke (tip of your thumb/finger). If you type more on the 'flat' of your thumb/finger the case may get in the way. I thought maybe those with smaller fingers would have an easier time than me. But I passed the phone to my wife and she also had a difficult time accessing the bottom row with her fingers, disproving my hypothesis that smaller hands were needed.

Time to Play Rough!
Now comes the fun, time to see what kind of abuse it could take. First I tried dropping it on the floor. It survived as expected with no visible damage to either the case or the Curve. Due to the case’s design, the raised edges to the case protected both the screen and the keypad from any damage if dropped on a flat surface. Next I insert a dummy 8300 into the case and toss both the case and holster down a flight of stairs. On the first bounce the case and dummy 8300 separated from the holster though again no apparent damage was seen. I took the carnage outside and tossed the case and holster across the lawn. The case held on in the holster longer this time, only dislodging itself as it spun in mid air after the third bounce. Again, no damage to be seen.

Final Thoughts
For those who may be a tad less careful with their devices, this would be an appropriate accessory. Both the case and holster provide great protection from everyday wear and tear, unless you fall down a flight of stairs. As previously stated the price of the case itself is $34.95 and the suggested MSRP for the combo is $49.95. The screen protection would have added extra security if it had actually fit the screen (if you read this Case-Mate, make it fit!).

I found that the device focused on fashion and fortitude over function. It looks nice, can take a decent beating, and for the most part has good design - it does accommodate the ports, buttons, speaker/mic and camera, but I found the access to the bottom of the keypad and lack of a sleep mode disappointing as these are critical for everyday usability of the BlackBerry.

The genuine black Napa leather says “I love to wear it with my Armani suit..” , while the durability says “…while  4 wheeling on the back roads.”

Case-Mate Signature Case-Holster Review Summary:
Case-Mate Signature Series Leather Case-Holster Combo
Ratings

Pros:

  • Injected plastic molding for durability
  • Easy to remove case from holster
  • Sylish Napa leather and cloth lining
  • Heavy duty ratcheting belt clip

Cons:

  • Lack of sleep mode magnet in the holster
  • Difficult to remove device from case
  • LCD protective film too small for screen
  • Poor access to bottom row of buttons

Buy Now:
Purchase the Case-Mate Signature Series Leather Case from the CrackBerry Store:
$49.95 - Case-Holster Combo
$34.95 - Case only

    Reader comments

    Review: Case-Mate Signature Series Leather Case-Holster Combo for BlackBerry Curve

    9 Comments

    So far so good! I like to clip my phone inside my pocket so I don't look like dork with stuff hanging off my belt. If you don't mind looking like Batman you can clip the unit to your belt and slide the phone/shell free of the clip easily with your thumb and fingers. The idea for me however is to quickly slide the phone out of my pocket, and free of the clip, with a thumb and finger in a single motion. It's taking some massaging, but I've managed to loosen up the clip arms that hold the Curve and its shell in place sufficiently to be able to do this. The slip does however slightly restrict access to some perimeter keypad and side buttons. This product, and the Curve for that matter may not be for you in you have larger fingers.

    The one I have differs slightly from the pictures here. It has a red lining and the slip has more cutaway for the keyboard, alert light, and volume control. Nice!

    Classy, stealth and functional thus far.

    OK, thats the best way I can describe the case. It has every ammenity you could want, but adds slight bulk as a result. It can be a skin, a holster w/clip, or both. I'll explain...

    PROS: (for the skin)

    -Every port or button has full access with this skin without compromising protection. This includes LED, camera/flash/mirror, USB, microphone, stand-by, etc.

    -The skin fits very snug around the phone. No worries of it ever slipping out. It is a bit tough to take out of the skin if you need to change the battery, but how often do you do that?

    -Feels secure in hand when talking on phone. No worries of it slipping out.

    -Protection, protection, protection. I sometimes toss the phone on my desk or dresser without any worries of it getting scratched or dinged. The Napa leather is very high quality and at almost 3/16" thickness it definately absorbs any shock on the phone if ever dropped. The thickness of the leather skin also keeps the keypad, trackball, screen, or camera lense from ever making contact with the surface. A big plus as I set my phone down all over the place.

    CONS: (for the skin)

    -Due to its thickness, it is somewhat difficult to use the keys along the edge as they are very close to the skin. Dont let me discourage you, it is a very small issue and you can even say it's nit-picky. It can be overcome by just using fingertips on the edges. Simple.

    PROS: (for the holster)

    -The holster accepts the phone nice and snug once the skin has been installed. I really like that the holster will accept the phone with the keypad facing out for quick veiwing, or turned in for extra protection.

    -The swivel belt clip is high quality, no worries about this clip snapping off or coming loose after daily useage. With its ratchet, it will stay in place wherever you set it.

    CONS: (for the holster)

    -Really adds to the bulk. The skin plus the holster makes it feel larger than the phone really is.

    On a side note, the protective screen cover that the case comes with works just fine. It covers the entire screen and even has a small cut-out to cover the top half of the track ball area. There is no need for the screen to cover other areas.

    SUMMARY: If you want max protection for your phone, access to all it's features, while still keeping the beautiful look of this phone, this is a great case. Hope this review helps.

    I absolutely love my case. I bought two others and have been using this case because it feels great to the hand and it recesses the keyboard underneath, so when you set your phone down without the holster, the keypad never touches the surface. The case does add bulk, but what doesnt? It fits in all of my jeans without being too uncomfortbale.

    I still use the holster occassionally, but the first week i dropped the phone a few feet when I got out of my car loop snapped off relatively easy...If your planning on wearing on your belt alot get the combo, otherwise the case itself is perfect. - Josh

    I've had my casemate abot a week now and I love it.Although I never saw the cleaning cloth or screen protector until reading this article,I enjoy the case very much.Unpopular to what they say about the holster not putting the bb in sleep mode,mine does go into sleep mode when placed in the holster.

    The case is great,, The holster, Well that is another story. I had to replace the holster 3 times because the clip breaks. Do not have it on your hip when you get in your car, or an aiplane seat or you will not be happy with the results. If they could do some work on the clip I think there would be less breaks.

    So the case gets an A+ from me.

    The holster. C-

    I like the way it fits like a glove. The phone is very secure in the inner sleeve and the sleeve fits in the case with ease, but secure. The swivel design is a must. A case in a case, great job!

    I bought one of these about six months ago. My boss liked mine so much he bought one for his Blackberry. The case is very durable and does a good job of protecting the phone. The belt clip has a serious design flaw. The hinge of the belt clip is simply a plastic pin about 1/16" in diameter that fits into a hole in the case. A few days ago, the hinge pin broke. Now my $50.00 phone case is useless. The hinge on my boss's phone case also broke. What are the odds? If you buy this thing, it's probably worth getting an extended warranty. Keep your packaging and receipt; you'll be needing them.

    Every product I find on the market is poorly constructed and sells for about 10 times the cost of construction. We consumers are being ripped off, but hey, it's good for the economy, right? Or so we are told. Markets like these are unsustainable for long periods. They appear when personal greed becomes more important than the desire to be the best at what one does. The days of the "big box" stores are numbered. When we've had enough of it, we'll shift our buying patterns,and local manufacturing will return.

    Basic design idea is good. The case however closes in too far on the face making it impossible to type on the touch screen near the edges! I took a die grinder to the case and opened it up...A solution necessary for the touch screen to be of use. The leather is fragile...Mine is worn through after a few months. I would like to see same design with a more open face and a tougher material. The belt clip has allowed the unit to come off my belt and drop 3 times (getting out of car)